As par of Formula 1’s quick rules adjustment to see teams and drivers release greater, more enhanced numbers and driver graphics, Mercedes AMG Petronas has switched up Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ numbers on their shark fins.
Hamilton’s red No. 44 is emboldened with his three-letter driver code, HAM, alongside. The same applies to Bottas’ teal No. 77.
This should be the first sign in clearer differentiation between the two otherwise identical liveries.
A quick video of the planning process is below.
Lewis Hamilton needed to outduel teammate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying for Sunday’s French Grand Prix, after the Finn jumped ahead of the Briton on his final run – Bottas turned in a lap at 1:30.147 to barely get clear of Hamilton.
However, Hamilton ultimately got the last laugh and turned in a 1:30.029 on his final lap, bettering Bottas by just over one tenth of a second, to take the 75th pole of his career.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualified third, followed by the Red Bull Racing duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in fourth and fifth. Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen ended up sixth.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. qualified seventh, and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc qualified a brilliant eighth as the Frenchman continued a strong rookie campaign in front of his home crowd.
The Haas duo of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean completed the top 10, with Grosjean actually crashing out of Q3 after nosing his VF-18 into a barrier.
Results are below. Of note: the McLaren drivers of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne failed to advance out of Q1 and qualified 16th (Alonso), and 18th (Vandoorne), though Vandoorne will start 17th as Brendon Hartley will start at the back of the grid after Toro Rosso changed several components of the power unit.